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View details of specific negotiations as well as other commentary and resource packs

Founding the Federal Union aims to capture the processes of negotiation surrounding the drafting of the United States Constitution. The collection consists of digital models of the 1787 Constitutional Convention and the 1789 Bill of Rights and collated archival materials. Cutting edge visualizations extract the narrative contained the archive materials in order to demonstrate how constitutional text was created and enacted on the word level and, amendment by amendment, arrived at the United States’ foundational text.

This collection charts constitution-writing in the American West, encompassing five of the state constitutional conventions that took place in 1889. Our cutting-edge visualisations allow users a more thorough understanding of the context within which key decisions were made, the origins of certain constitutional provisions, and how the negotiations were structured. The collection was made possible by a generous Digital Advancement Grant from the National Endowment For the Humanities.

The Civil Rights Amendments collection aims to document the twin processes of constitutional reform and civil rights legislation that took place between 1860-1875, and their various successes and failures.

Writing Peace is an initiative of the Quill Project in Pembroke College and the Faculty of History at Oxford University, in collaboration with partners in Ireland and the US, to create a rounded view of the peace talks in Northern Ireland from the late 1980s to early 2000s. Online resource collections and cutting-edge analytical tools celebrate the constellation of peace makers involved and help scholars and practitioners alike to learn lessons for the future.

Convention icon Negotiations

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Description: Grand Convention at Philadelphia, May to September, 1787, Quill Project 2021 Edition.

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Description: Twelve articles of amendment to the Constitution, introduced in September 1789 by Congress.

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Description: An amendment to the United States Constitution to abolish slavery introduced during the American Civil War.

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Description: An amendment to the Constitution of the United States that granted citizenship and equal rights, both civil and legal, to Black Americans, including those who had been emancipated by the thirteenth amendment.

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Description: Following the rejected 'Sioux Falls' Convention of 1885, the South Dakota Convention met and began the drafting process in July of 1889. They used the articles of the Sioux Falls Convention as starting propositions to begin the amendment process. The South Dakota Constitution was ratified in October 1889.

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Description: Idaho's Constitutional Convention went from July 4, 1889 - August 6, 1889. Using the work that began in the standing committees, drafted reports or articles became the ratified Idaho Constitution in November 1889.

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Description: The Proceedings and Debates of the Constitutional Convention of North Dakota from July to August of 1889.

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Description: Washington's first constitutional convention met between July and August 1889 to draft the state's foundational text.

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Description: The Dakotas Joint Committee for the Division of Property began on July 16, 1889 and dissolved on July 31, 1889. It allowed for delegates from both the North and South Conventions to meet in Bismarck and negotiate the splitting of the Territory of Dakota.

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Description: The Wyoming Constitution Convention began September 2, 1889 without the authorization from an enabling act. The articles were individually voted on, creating the final Constitution of Wyoming on September 30, 1889. It was later ratified on November 5, 1889.

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Description: Proceedings and Debates of the Convention Assembled to Adopt a Constitution for the State of Utah

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Description: WORK IN PROGRESS - This project is still under development. It models a series of formal and informal negotiations which led to the publication, in December 1993, of a declaration issued jointly by the British and Irish Governments. The Joint Declaration was a critical policy document which paved the way for a ceasefire and the entry of Sinn Féin into formal talks. It also laid out a shared set of principles – including, crucially, self-determination for the people of Ireland subject to the consent of the people of Northern Ireland – which would come to underpin the Belfast Good Friday Agreement and provide a framework for its ratification.

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Description: A selection of mini-models designed to provide an insight into the ongoing work of 'Writing Peace' and to demonstrate Quill's approach to visualising the archive material and tracking the process of negotiation. This collection is still under construction.

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Description: WORK IN PROGRESS - IN THE FINAL STAGES OF EDITING A series of talks launched by Peter Brooke, Secretary of State for Northern in Ireland, which began in April 1991, and were carried on intermittently by Brooke and his successor, Patrick Mayhew, until November 1992.

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Description: The International Body on Arms Decommissioning was appointed as part of the twin-track process. It was led by the people who would later become the Independent Chairmen of the 1996-1998 peace talks. They produced the Mitchell report, which set out, amongst other recommendations, a list of principles which all parties signed up to as the basis for the talks.

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Description: The Forum for Political Dialogue met between 1996 and 1998 in Belfast as part of the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement.

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Description: A model of this round of all-party talks, often known as the "Mitchell Talks", is forthcoming in Autumn 2024.

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Description: Dublin Forum convened by the Government of the Republic of Ireland

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The PDF scans of the 1911 publication, The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, edited by Max Farrand (New Haven: Yale University Press)

The ConSource.org edition of Madison's Notes and other papers.

In 1819 John Quincy Adams oversaw a printed publication of the Journal of the Convention. This collection holds links to the Archive.org copy.

In 1819 John Quincy Adams oversaw a printed publication of the Journal of the Convention.

This is a manuscript copy of the journal from that time, a draft of what was published.

This collection holds links to the Library of Congress scan of its microfilm photographs of Madison's personal record recording the work of the Constitutional Convention.

Links to relevant records at e-enlightenment.com

Constitutional History in the news and in scholarship, and news about the Quill platform and the Negotiated Texts Network.

A collection of news items related to the Quill project.

Forthcoming events being organized by the Quill project.

William B. Ewald, Professor of Law and Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania Law School

A collection of primary source material detailing the state of the convention between 14 and 25 May, 1787. People include George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Richard Price, Thomas Jordan, Arthur Lee, John Dickinson, George Mason, Rufus King, Jeremiah Wadsworth, and George Read.

A collection of handwritten primary source material pertaining to the deliberations of the Committee of Detail. People include John Jay, George Washington, Richard Caswell, R.D. Spaight, Alexander Martin, James Monroe, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James McClurg.

A collection of printed primary source material pertaining to drafts of the Constitution between August and September, 1787. This collection includes printed drafts with handwritten annotations produced by the convention; for handwritten drafts by the Committee of Detail, see "The Meeting of the Committee of Detail" resource collection.

News items from the Center for Constitutional Studies at Utah Valley University.

Analysis of Historical Society of Pennsylvania Item 1663: "United States Constitution first manuscript draft by James Wilson, 1787."

This collection holds links to images of the Library of Congress copy of Madison's Notes. These colour images were newly available in 2018.

Details of unofficial meetings, discussions and social events held by delegates to the Convention.

Digitized microfilmed copies of some of the first 150 propositions and petitions presented by various delegates of the Utah Constitutional Convention for insertion into the Constitution preserved by the Utah State Archives.

Digitized microfilmed copies of the first draft the articles of the Constitution as drafted by the different specialized committees of the Utah Constitutional Convention for insertion into the Constitution.

Report of the Conference Committee regarding the House's disagreement to various proposed Senate amendments to the Constitution

The Gazette of the United States was a Federalist newspaper in the years of the First Congress. Begun by John Fenno, who served as its editor, the Gazette was published twice weekly, beginning on April 15, 1789. Alexander Hamilton contributed to the paper, both financially and in written content. Senate Secretary Samuel Otis would eventual go on to contract with Fenno to publish various documents for the Senate.

Links to ConSource editions of Thomas Lloyd's stenographic record of the First House of Representatives.

Scans of the handwritten Senate Journal for the First Session of the First Congress

Roger Sherman's proposal in the First Committee on Representation, which demonstrates how Madison's proposed amendments could be amended and included as a supplement to the Constitution.

Printed version of the Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States: anno M,DCC,LXXXIX, and of the independence of the United States the thirteenth

The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, First Congress, First Session, vol. 1

The Journal of the Senate, First Congress, First Session, vol. 1

Jonathan Elliot, The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, J.B. Lippincott & co. (Philadelphia: 1836-59).

The Congressional register; or, History of the proceedings and debates of the first House of representatives of the United States of America...

Transcriptions of the differing versions of the Virginia Plan, Pinckney Plan, New Jersey Plan, Hamilton Plan, and others, for comparison.

A collection of tables of population for each state presented to the Convention to inform apportionment of representation.

Charts the main stages in drafting the Constitution, and contains the major documents produced by the Convention, allowing for quick comparison.

Contemporary reports of the weather during each day of the Convention in Philadelphia 1787

From the mid-1980s, John, now Lord, Alderdice, was intimately involved in the Irish peace process. His archive spans more than thirty years of negotiation and implementation, from his early days in the Alliance Party in the 1980s, through his leadership of the party during several phases of multi-party talks in the 1990s, to the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement during his time as the first Speaker of the new Northern Ireland Assembly. It also includes a small section on the Sunningdale Conference, inherited from previous party leaders, as a testimony to the origins of the 1998 Agreement. The documents which can be viewed in this resource collection were used to model Brooke/Mayhew talks and span the period from 1985 to 1992. They are also contained in the John Alderdice Collection, which includes all the documents digitized by Quill.

A collection of primary source material from the Journal of the Washington Constitutional Convention of 1889.

A collection of the South Dakota Journal from the 1889 Constitutional Convention.

A collection of the South Dakota Debates from the 1889 Constitutional Convention.

A collection of the North Dakota Journal from the 1889 Constitutional Convention.

A collection of the North Dakota Debates from the 1889 Constitutional Convention.

A collection of the Journal of the Proceedings of the Joint Commission between the 1889 Constitutional Conventions of North Dakota and South Dakota.

A collection of Appendix B: Journal of the Joint Commission found in the appendices of the Journal of the Constitutional Convention for North Dakota of 1889.

This collection of treaties, agreements, legislation, and joint statements relating to the status of Northern Ireland was commissioned by ARINS. The primary source materials in this resource collection were compiled by Harriet Carter and Ruth Murray, and are currently being used to construct a digital model of the Peace Process which will enable users to better understand the context within which key decisions and compromises were made, the origins of particular phrases, and the developing roles of individuals and political parties.

Monica McWilliams is Emeritus Professor in the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University, and has campaigned tirelessly for peace and human rights in both Northern Ireland and the wider world for more than four decades. As co-founder of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition (NIWC), she was elected to the Multi-Party Talks in 1996 at a key juncture in the peace negotiations. The section of her archive digitized as part of this project focuses on the negotiation of the Good Friday Agreement (1998-2003) and the process of implementation during Professor McWilliams's time as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (1998-2003).

The digitization of the Monica McWilliams Collection is a partnership with Queen's University. The physical archive is housed in the McClay Library, along with wider records of the NIWC and Professor McWilliams’s work with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. This collection was catalogued and digitized by Ruth Murray, Annabel Harris and Harriet Carter. The structure of the Collection is based on the categories used in Professor McWilliams's own filing system. Some reorganization has taken place to interweave loose papers and to ensure that records from each Committee are co-located for easier reference.

From the mid-1980s, John, now Lord, Alderdice, was intimately involved in the Irish peace process. His archive spans more than thirty years of negotiation and implementation, from his early days in the Alliance Party in the 1980s, through his leadership of the party during several phases of multi-party talks in the 1990s, to the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement during his time as the first Speaker of the new Northern Ireland Assembly. It also includes a small section on the Sunningdale Conference, inherited from previous party leaders, as a testimony to the origins of the 1998 Agreement.

The section of Lord Alderdice's archive digitized as part of this project focuses primarily on his role in the Multi-Party Talks of the 1990s. A wider collection of his papers, documenting his contribution to liberal politics and conflict resolution in other countries, is held in the McClay Library at Queen’s University in Belfast.

The Alderdice papers to which Quill originally had access were catalogued and arranged chronologically in three subsections, 1985-1992 (particularly focusing on 1991-1992), 1992-1995, and 1996-1998, representing the three main attempts to reach agreement in the 1990s. Papers handed over by Lord Alderdice after this initial cataloguing process had been completed are currently in a separate box and span the whole period. This collection was catalogued and digitized by Ruth Murray, Harriet Carter, Sofia Panourgias and Annabel Harris.

The Forum for Political Dialogue met between 1996 and 1998 in Belfast alongside the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement. The Records of Debate were originally posted on the Forum's website, which has since been archived. Lord Alderdice later commissioned print versions of the records. The structure of this Collection is taken from the six printed volumes of the Record of Debate and follows the divisions therein. It was digitized and catalogued by Harriet Carter and Jamie Pitts.

A collection of the digital scans of the original Journal of the Wyoming Constitutional Convention 1889.

A collection of the Idaho Proceedings and Debates from the 1889 Constitutional Convention.

A collection of the Idaho Proceedings and Debates from the 1889 Constitutional Convention.

A collection of the Idaho Proceedings and Debates from the 1889 Constitutional Convention.

A collection of the Idaho Proceedings and Debates from the 1889 Constitutional Convention.

A collection of the digital scans of the original Debates of the Wyoming Constitutional Convention 1889.

A collection of the digital scans of the original newspaper, the Cheyenne Daily Leader, for the record of the Wyoming Constitutional Convention 1889.

A collection of the Idaho Proceedings and Debates from the 1889 Constitutional Convention.

A collection of the Idaho Proceedings and Debates from the 1889 Constitutional Convention.

A collection of the Idaho Proceedings and Debates from the 1889 Constitutional Convention.

A collection of the Idaho Proceedings and Debates from the 1889 Constitutional Convention.

A collection of the digital scans of the original newspaper, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, for the record of the Washington Constitutional Convention 1889.

A collection of the Idaho Proceedings and Debates from the 1889 Constitutional Convention.

A collection of the Idaho Proceedings and Debates from the 1889 Constitutional Convention.

A collection of the Idaho Proceedings and Debates from the 1889 Constitutional Convention.

A collection of the Idaho Proceedings and Debates from the 1889 Constitutional Convention.

A collection of the Idaho Proceedings and Debates from the 1889 Constitutional Convention.

A collection of the Idaho Proceedings and Debates from the 1889 Constitutional Convention.

A collection of the Idaho Proceedings and Debates from the 1889 Constitutional Convention.

A collection of the Idaho Proceedings and Debates from the 1889 Constitutional Convention.

A collection of the digital scans of the original newspaper, the Washington Standard, for the record of the Washington Constitutional Convention 1889.

A collection of the digital scans of the original newspaper, the Spokane Falls Review, for the record of the Washington Constitutional Convention 1889.

A collection of the digital scans of the original newspaper, the Yakima Herald, for the record of the Washington Constitutional Convention 1889.

A collection of the digital scans of the original newspaper, the Lewiston Teller, for the record of the Idaho Constitutional Convention 1889.

A collection of the digital scans of the original newspaper, the Ketchum Keystone, for the record of the Idaho Constitutional Convention 1889.

A collection of the digital scans of the original newspaper, Idaho News, for the record of the Idaho Constitutional Convention 1889.

A collection of the digital scans of the original newspaper, the Hope Pioneer, for the record of the North Dakota Constitutional Convention 1889.

A collection of the digital scans of the original newspaper, the Dickinson Press, for the record of the North Dakota Constitutional Convention 1889.

A collection of the digital scans of the original newspaper, the Oakes Weekly Republican, for the record of the North Dakota Constitutional Convention 1889.

A collection of the digital scans of the original newspaper, the Bismarck Weekly Tribune, for the record of the North Dakota Constitutional Convention 1889.

A collection of the digital scans of the original newspaper, the Sully County Watchman, for the record of the South Dakota Constitutional Convention 1889.

A collection of the digital scans of the original newspaper, the Turner County Herald, for the record of the South Dakota Constitutional Convention 1889.

A collection of the digital scans of the original newspaper, the Mitchell Capital, for the record of the South Dakota Constitutional Convention 1889.

This collection is one box (P254) from a larger selection of Dermot Nally's papers held in the University College Dublin Archives. The documents in the box relate to the development of the Downing Street Joint Declaration, made by the British and Irish Governments in 1993. Dermot Nally led the Irish government team during the negotiations. The collection was digitised in July 2023 by Kate Manning, the Principal Archivist at UCD, and the catalogue was written by Niamh Collins.

A selection of material relating to the Northern Irish Peace Process scanned at The National Archives. The files are mainly taken from the CJ 4 series (Northern Ireland Office records) and the PREM series (Office of the Prime Minister records). The organization of the files reflects their physical location within the Archive at Kew. Documents collated and catalogued by Annabel Harris, Ruth Murray, Harriet Carter, Isha Pareek, Oliver Nicholls, Kieran Wetherwick, and Cerys Griffiths.

Curated links into the UVU Miller Center Presidential Oral Histories, highlighting interviews of relevance to the peace process in Ireland.

Curated links to the University of Galway Archives, charting Brendan's Duddy's behind-the-scenes involvement in the peace process over three decades.

This collection should inform student editors as they are trained in the use of the Quill platform. It should also be a useful first point of reference for particular queries you may have whilst working on a project. It includes the data entry manual and links to training videos made by documentary editors at Quill.

Issues highlighted by the 2016 editorial team.

Advising the President

by

Lindsay Chervinsky

Lindsay Chervinsky on the President's Cabinet

The Creation of the Electoral College

by

N. P. Cole, Grace Mallon and Kat Howarth

A collection highlighting important moments in the debate over how a President should be chosen for the United States.

The Convention debates whether officials should be removable by impeachment, and if so how.

Knowledge of the Constitutional Convention during the nineteenth century was partial and contingent on the publication of various accounts and journals, not all of them accurate or honest.

Editorial commentaries on the creation of the U.S. Bill of Rights 1789

A brief exploration of Mary Sarah Bilder's charges that Madison's Notes do not tell the whole truth of the Constitutional Convention.